With about a month to go before the big event, the Love That Dress collection crew is halfway to its goal of 3,000.
“I’m confident we’re going to do it,” said Kendra Sutton, chair of the sixth annual fundraiser for the Lee County PACE Center for Girls — sort of a combination high-fashion swap meet/girls’ night out/treasure hunt that happens Aug. 23 in Collier County and Aug. 27 in Lee.
Of course, Sutton says, the young women it benefits are at the heart of the event, which raised some $135,000 last year. The statewide nonprofit helps them find brighter futures through education, counseling, mentoring and advocacy. Over the years, Love That Dress! has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to further that mission. The center is open year-round for girls 12 to 18 who are facing challenges such as domestic violence abuse and neglect.
Organizers call it the “ultimate feel-good shopping spree of the year,” offering partygoers the chance to snap up brand-new and gently worn dresses at a scant fraction of their cost.
Brands and designers featured in the past have included White House/Black Market, Versace, BCBG, Chico’s, Calvin Klein, Banana Republic and INC. Never mind that many of their original prices are in the hundreds, most of the dresses go for between $10 and $40.
But it’s more than a shopping spree, Sutton says; the event is a great chance to network while sipping cocktails and bidding at a silent auction.
She’s planning a few new treats too.
“There’s going to be some entertaining surprises along the couture line,” Sutton says. “And we have a little display honoring (late Fort Myers philanthropist) Barbara B. Mann, including one of her dresses.”
If You Go
• Collier County’s Love That Dress! is 6 p.m. Aug. 23 at The Naples Beach Hotel Golf Course, 851 Gulf Shore Blvd. N., Naples. Call 842-5406; online acecenter.org/centers/collier/ltdcollier
• Lee County’s is 6 p.m. Aug. 27, at the Embassy Suites, 10450 Corkscrew Commons Drive, Estero. Call 425.2366; online: pacecenter.org/centers/lee/lee-ltd
• Tickets for both events are $30 in advance and go on sale Aug. 1. If they don’t sell out, they’ll be $40 at the door.
There have been a series of collection parties before the main events. Admission is one or more new or “gently loved” dresses, shoes and/or accesories. Here are a few still scheduled. Call to double-check times and places; not all details were firm at presstime.
• July 21: 5:30-7 p.m. Lee County Association of Women Lawyers at Lindsey Nicole Boutique in Gulf Coast Town Center, 9903 Gulf Coast Main St., San Carlos Park
• July 22: Women’s Wine Club, time and location to be determined
• July 23: 5-7:30 p.m. at CRU, 13499 S Cleveland Ave. #241, Bell Tower Shops, south Fort Myers
• July 31: 5-7 p.m. at Blue Coyote Supper Club, 1100 Par View Drive, Captiva
• Aug. 5: 4:30-7 p.m., Wine Canvas at The Edison Restaurant, 3583 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers
• Aug. 14: 5:30-7:30 p.m. at CONNECT Networking Event at the Sidney Berne Davis Art Center, 2301 First St., Fort Myers
There are no more dress collection parties planned before the event, but dresses can still be dropped off at:
• Lux Boutique, Venetian Village 4262 Gulf Shore Blvd., N., Naples
• True Fashionistas, Shoppes at Vanderbilt 2355 Vanderbilt Beach Raod., Naples
• White House Black Market, Waterside Shops, 5485 Tamiami Trail N.. Ste. 9, Naples
• White House Black Market, 555 Fifth Ave. South, Naples